Lombardi's dramatic training began in his teens when he performed in a number of student projects for New York University's film program. He maintained that this gave him more experience and education than any accredited acting program. Lombardi's first big break came in 1993 when he was cast in the mobster film "Amongst Friends" by co-star and co-producer Mira Sorvino; a considerable success at the Sundance Film Festival. Lombardi's early roles, in which he would invariably play rough-edged cops or mobsters, included supporting turns in Oliver Stone's "Natural Born Killers" (1994), "Beverly Hills Cop III" (1994) and Bryan Singer's "The Usual Suspects" (1995). But Lombardi's natural gregariousness - both as a performer and a personality - so endeared him to producers and casting directors, that he began landing roles more frequently, including repeat episodes of "NYPD Blue" (ABC, 1993-2005) and Paul Haggis' cult series "EZ Streets" (CBS, 1996-97), as well as a feature film part in "Suicide Kings" (1997). He also wrote and directed an independent feature, "The Boss," in 1999. In 2000, Lombardi landed a pivotal role on HBO's hit series "The Sopranos" (HBO, 1999-2006), playing the tough-but-concerned federal agent Skip Lipari, who served as the FBI contact for Salvatore "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero. The role caught the attention of "24" producer Joel Surnow, who reportedly later wrote the role of Edgar Stiles for Lombardi.There would be several small roles and television appearances for Lombardi before he joined "24," including small but memorable turns in two Rob Schneider comedies, "The Animal" and "The Hot Chick;" Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man 2," and guest spots on "The Handler," "Philly" and "CSI."In 2005, "24" producer Surnow remembered Lombardi and made sure he was cast as Stiles. Audiences that had recognized him from his previous projects saw a whole new side of the actor. Edgar was more than a little socially awkward (thanks in no small part to a slight speech impediment), and frequently found himself on the wrong side of his co-worker Chloe O'Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub). Their relationship, which swung from combative to mutually respectful and even hinted at romance, was cited by fans as among their favorite storylines on the program. Sadly, Edgar and Chloe would never consummate their sweetly off-kilter connection. In March 2006, Edgar exited the show as a hero in the episode "Day 5: 5:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m." The entertainment press singled out Lombardi's demise as one of the show's most shocking twists, and discussion boards and fan sites across the internet lit up with mournful tributes to the fallen computer jockey.Like all good character actors, Lombardi moved on to new projects, including the Artie Lange feature film comedy "Beer League" (2006), and a family sports movie titled "Chasing 3000 (2006).